“They promised us we could go back. Now, we are not even allowed to enter the country.” Inspired to answer questions about her origins, biracial filmmaker Colette Ghunim embarks on a journey with her parents, Hosni and Iza, back to Palestine and Mexico to locate their original homes.
As a child, Hosni had it all. His parents owned a successful business in Safad, Palestine, built an expansive home on top of a mountain, and often visited family and friends that lived only a few blocks away. In 1948, when Hosni was four years old, his family was forced to flee, taking only what they could carry on their 12-hour walk to Lebanon. Later in life, Hosni heard that Jewish settlers turned their home into an Israeli hospital. Wishing to return to Palestine, he ended up moving to the United States, where he met his wife, Iza.
Iza was born in Mexico City in 1954, her father a well-known tailor for celebrities. He provided his children with love and abundance: a giant ranch house, two maids, and endless gifts. However, he concealed a dark secret, a secret only visible in his home. Iza’s father was a troubled alcoholic, severely abusing his wife whenever he got drunk. One day, Iza’s mother decided to take her children and leave Mexico, escaping from her violent husband forever.
Traces of Home is a feature-length documentary that explores what it means to be both an immigrant and an American. As her parent’s flames of displacement continue to burn decades later, Colette Ghunim examines the effect of never wanting to leave one’s home country in the first place.